Revisiting the Cloud


Today’s Question: In your “quick answer” to the question about managing Lightroom Classic across two computers, you suggested the photographer “consider whether the cloud-based version of Lightroom might be a good solution” for their workflow. Do you think the cloud version of Lightroom would be better for photographers who work across two locations?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Possibly. While the cloud-based version of Adobe Lightroom certainly makes it easier to work with the same catalog across multiple computers and mobile devices, it also fundamentally changes the approach to storing your photos.

More Detail: The core difference between Lightroom Classic and the “cloud” version of Lightroom has to do with where your photos are stored.

With Lightroom Classic all of your photos are stored on local storage (such as hard drives) that you manage directly. You can selectively choose to synchronize some of your photos via collections, so that they are available through the cloud to any of your computers or mobile devices.

With the cloud version of Lightroom, all of your photos are stored on Adobe’s servers. On a space-available basis, and prioritized based on recent access, the original source photos will also be synchronized to all of the computers and mobile devices that you use with Lightroom. That means that all of your photos can be available on all devices, as long as you are connected to the Internet.

The cloud version of Lightroom provides some clear benefits. Your Lightroom catalog is also effectively being managed in the cloud, so that you can work across multiple computers and mobile devices seamlessly. All of your photos are also available from anywhere. However, with this approach is that you aren’t directly managing your source image files. If you don’t have an Internet connection, you may not be able to access the photos you need. And if you have a slow Internet connection (such as when traveling) it may take a long time for the synchronization to complete. In addition, the cloud version of Lightroom is still lacking many of the features already available in Lightroom Classic.

Based on the fundamental difference in how photos are stored between Lightroom Classic and the cloud version of Lightroom, I can’t imagine getting to the point that I would prefer using the cloud version over Classic. That said, some photographers may find that the cloud-storage and synchronization features of the cloud version of Lightroom are compelling enough that they are willing to accept the compromises that I feel are involved in making the switch.

In short, if you have a relatively large library of photos, and you find that you don’t always have a high-speed Internet connection available, you may want to stick with Lightroom Classic as I have. If you have a relatively small library of photos, or you simply want to prioritize having all of your photos available from virtually anywhere, then you might want to explore the cloud version of Lightroom.

You can learn more about the options available for Lightroom and Lightroom Classic by following this link: